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Berlin Brigade
US Army, Europe

Looking for more information from military/civilian personnel assigned to or associated with the U.S. Army in Germany from 1945 to 1989. If you have any stories or thoughts on the subject, please contact me.

The Story of Berlin Brigade

Berlin District

Checkpoint Charlie

Helmstedt Spt Det

Berlin Avn Det

6th Infantry Regt
Aviation Sec
Medical Co

C Btry, 94th Arty

287th MP Company

298th Army Band

6941st Guard Bn

Sig Spt Co, Berlin Bde

7773 Sig Sv Co

Berlin Command/Brigade Organizational Charts
(on Joe Morasco's The Berlin Observer website)

(John Hehir)

Related Links

Stars & Stripes Archives -
Berlin, 1961 Berlin Wall photos that appeared inthe Stars and Stripes
Berlin Wall patrol
By Peter Kuhrt, Stars and Stripes Staff Writer European edition, Friday, March 31, 1967

Berlin Brigade History
The Berlin "patch" is the same as that worn by US Army, Europe except that it is surmounted by the Berlin arc. It is derived from the insignia designed by General Dwight D. Eisenhower's command during World War II, Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF). The original SHAEF patch was on a field of black ("heraldic sable"), symbolizing Nazi oppression. In July 1945, the field was changed to blue ("azure") symbolizing a state of peace, the restoration of which was the objective of the World War II allies. Upon the field of blue is shown the sword of liberation in the form of a Crusader's sword, the flames arising from the hilt and leaping up the blade. This represents avenging justice by which the enemy power was broken in Nazi-dominated Europe. Above the sword is a rainbow, emblematic of all the colors of which the National Flags of the Allies are composed. The distinguishing Berlin arc has been worn by the US Army in Berlin since 1951.
1945 - 1980
(Source: "The Story of Berlin Brigade", Pamphlet 870-2, US Command, Berlin and US Army, Berlin, 1981.)
USCOB/USAB Pam 870-2

The Story of Berlin Brigade
Military History Branch, G-3 Division
US Command, Berlin and US Army, Berlin

The Berlin Brigade was formed at the height of the Berlin Wall crisis. It was created from units already in Berlin by General Orders from the Commander-in-Chief, United States Army, Europe. General Bruce Clarke ordered that from 1 December 1961 the core of the United States military presence in Berlin, the living symbol of America's protection for the people of free Berlin, would be known as the United States Army Berlin Brigade.

Between 4 July 1945 and 1 December 1961 the security force in Berlin had been known by several different names. During the first eight months of the occupation three famous American divisions in succession occupied the former capital of the German nation: The 2d Armored Division, the 82d Airborne Division and the 78th "Lightning" Infantry Division. From 1946 through the era of the Berlin Blockade and Airlift the troop command was known as Berlin Military Post. During the ensuing decade it was known variously as Berlin Command and the U.S. Army Garrison, Berlin. During the past 18 years, however, the name "Berlin Brigade" has stuck.*

It symbolizes the pride and traditions of some 100,000 men and women of the United States Army who have served their country east of the river Elbe, the defenders of freedom.

More than two years before the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed, the United States had defied the Russian blockade and, together with Great Britain and France, had pledged itself to uphold the freedom and security of West Berlin. During the thirty-three years since 1946 when the first permanent garrison was formed, the Berlin Brigade has never fired a shot in anger. That is a measure of its success. Probably no force of its size in history has contributed more to peace and freedom in the world. Every man and woman privileged to serve with the American forces in Berlin should know how we got here and why we stayed here. This is the story of the Berlin Brigade.

*Since there has been little change in the missions of the U.S. garrison in Berlin since the early 1950's, it will be referred to throughout as the Berlin Brigade.


It was the beginning of July in 1945. A great world city - Berlin - lay prostrate and largely devastated. From the air it looked like a desolate stone desert, with its roofless buildings, its heaps of rubble. Two years of intense bombing and a fanatical struggle between the last-ditch defenders and the attacking Soviet Army had left the city in ruins.

For two months, from the cessation of actual fighting (2 May 1945), the city had been looted in the name of reparations. Refrigeration plants, mills, whole factories, generator equipment, lathes and precision tools were dismantled and loaded in rail cars for shipment to the Soviet Union.

Inhabitants of the defeated capital, dazed, were just beginning to attempt to provide themselves with the bare necessities of life. Dully they sought food, items of clothing, anything to put them back in the battle for human survival. It was in this simmering cauldron of a city -- a setting as historic as the great sacks of Rome -- that the Berlin Brigade was born.

The Berlin Command had a modest enough beginning on the first day of July, 1945. Colonel Frank Howley led a contingent of military government personnel into the city. The Russians, who up to then had full control of the city, had not allowed the Americans to scout their sector before entering. As a result, hundreds of officers and men had to find places to stay in the ruins. Many wound up sleeping in tents in the Grunewald.

By the Fourth of July, Major General Floyd L. Parks, the first American Commandant, together with elements of the 2d Armored Division had moved in to occupy the American Sector in the southwest areas of the city. Ceremonies in several parts of the U.S. Sector marked the takeover. At the Telefunken electronics factory -- now McNair Barracks -- Sherman tanks of the "Hell on Wheels" Division lined up opposite two companies of the Soviet Army. General Omar Bradley flew into Berlin especially to represent the United States on this historic occasion. In fact, U.S. forces did not complete the takeover in the American Sector until 12 July. Finally, most of the Russians moved out, but not without considerable "urging".

* The home of the 2d, 3d, and 4th Battalions of the 6th U.S. Infantry.

Meanwhile Lieutenant General Lucius Clay and Robert Murphy, respectively Deputy Military Governor and Political Advisor to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, had flown to Berlin for the initial conferences with the Russians. This was the first gathering of the Allied Military Governors for Germany who together made up the Allied Control Council.
  Paralleling these developments, the French were given a sector of the city -- the boroughs of Reinickendorf and Wedding, which had been carved out of the six districts designated to become the British Sector. This modified the wartime agreements on the occupation of Berlin and resulted in the present division of the city. Before the war, Greater Berlin had been divided into twenty administrative districts. The Soviet Sector (East Berlin) was composed of eight eastern districts; the French Sector of two northwestern districts; the British Sector, of four center-western districts; and the U.S. Sector, of six southwestern districts.

The occupation structure was complex. General Clay's headquarters became the Office of Military Government, United States (Zone) or OMGUS. Under General Clay, the American Commandant represented the United States on the four-power "Allied Kommandatura" for Berlin. A permanent security force for the American Sector, the future Berlin Brigade, was not formed until 1946. The troops of the 2d Armored Division remained in the city until relieved on 9 August 1945 by the 82d Airborne Division. Its Commander, Major General James Gavin, became the second U.S. Commandant.

From the outset, it was difficult to separate the missions of the security force and the military government team in the American Sector. Berlin Brigade was charged with the monumental task of restoring a semblance of order to the American Sector. However, Berlin was also the site of the military government headquarters
for the four victorious Allies of World War II. There was no central government for conquered Germany. The four military governors, acting by unanimous decision in the Allied Control Council, exercised supreme governing authority in the four Zones of Occupation. Symbolically, the Council established itself in the mammoth building in Berlin's Schoeneberg district which had housed Imperial and Nazi Germany's supreme court.* There followed countless committee meetings and conferences of the military governors. The object was to fulfill the terms of the Potsdam Agreement to provide one central, military government for all four Zones of Occupation. The Council was unable to realize that objective. Communist obstructionism was obvious from the beginning. By the fall of 1946 Secretary of State James F. Byrnes publicly declared: "The Allied Control Council is neither governing Germany nor allowing Germany to govern itself."

* Still located there is the four-power Berlin Air Safety Center or BASC.


During 1945, however, the spirit of cooperation that had led the Allies to victory in World War II was not completely lost. But minor irritants were evident even then. Practically every effort of the Allied Kommandatura to restore order and a semblance of normalcy to Berlin was to some extent thwarted by the Soviets and their German sympathizers. The fact that the Red Army had taken Berlin and had been its sole occupiers for two months before the Western Allies moved into their Sectors gave the Russians an advantage that they were not slow to exploit. In the wake of the Russian Army, German Communists who had fled to the Soviet Union during the Hitler era returned to Berlin. Typical of this group was Paul Markgraf, whom the Soviets promptly named as Police President of Berlin. Since only persons who could prove that they had not been Nazis were eligible for government posts under the occupation, the Soviets were able to fill key posts in all four Sectors with pro-Soviet functionaries. In addition, the Soviets took advantage of the initial era of good feeling to influence the organization of the Allied Kommandatura. As a result it was easy for them to block real four-power government for the whole city, since they had insisted that all decisions of the Kommandatura must be unanimous. A Soviet veto was enough to disrupt or block constructive action. The Kommandatura itself, the sole legal authority in Berlin, had to transact business in four languages -- English, French, Russian and, of course, German. The end of the War in the Pacific added to the problems of American participation in the four-power occupation. Redeployment and demobilization of U.S. forces began almost immediately. Some military units in Berlin reportedly experienced a personnel turnover of as much as 300 percent in a single month.

To cope with the problem of maintaining order it was necessary to re-train battle-hardened soldiers in the techniques of civil police duties. Early in 1946 they were assigned to a mobile organization, a provisional constabulary squadron. This lightly armed unit patrolled the city in cavalry scout cars. One of its principal duties was to curb the black market gangs and the smugglers who trafficked in all types of contraband. Such gangs were, in part, responsible for further inflating the ruined Germany currency and the spreading economic chaos. The first permanent units of the Brigade, the 16th Constabulary Squadron and the 759th Military Police Battalion were formed and had taken over these missions by 1 May 1946.

New operational techniques had to be devised for using soldiers to control a civilian population governed jointly by four different countries. Differences in language magnified differences in temperament, legal philosophy and national outlook. Cooperation with Berlin's rehabilitated civil police, controlled by a Moscow-trained police president, was difficult. In many instances, problems were generated by a combination of honest misunderstanding and Soviet opposition. Eventually, however, procedures were developed to facilitate routine operations among the four occupation powers and the Berlin police. The occupation was not a complete failure. The breakdown of the four-power occupation machinery was gradual. When it finally occurred, in 1948, it was, like most milestones in Berlin's post-war history, the result of a calculated Soviet policy offensive.

In this complex and sensitive situation, the Army stood ready to guarantee United States rights under international agreements. It contributed significantly to the success of State Department programs to provide the basic human necessities for the German people and to restore economic order.

During 1946-47 it became increasingly clear that the Soviet Union's one-sided interpretation of the Potsdam Agreement violated the spirit of the agreement, as well as the United States' concept of fundamental human rights. With the Soviets demanding reparations in excess of what Germany could produce and blocking efforts in the Control Council to implement economic reforms, the Western Allies found themselves, reluctantly at first, taking the first steps on the road to reconciliation and alliance with their former enemy.


During the winter of 1945-46 U.S. forces were faced with the practical problems of keeping two million Berliners in the Western Sectors alive in a shattered city. Under the U.S. Military Government, the Brigade went to work. Results were quickly apparent. Restoration of basic services was the first requirement and the re-lighting of only 1,000 gas-fueled street lamps throughout Berlin, on 2 March 1946, was an event of sufficient importance to convince untold numbers of the city's inhabitants that perhaps there was some light for the future, too.

The spirit of the Berlin Brigade was perhaps lighted by that first, symbolic step back on the road to self-sufficiency and self-esteem for the Berliners. However small, it offered hope for a new beginning.

The problems of rotation and demobilization plagued the Brigade during 1946. Rotation without replacement had so decimated the 78th Infantry Division that by November 1946 it was reorganized and designated the 3d Battalion of the 16th Infantry and became part of the garrison. The composition of the Berlin security force proved adequate to the tasks it was called upon to perform during 1946-47. The concept of the force and its missions changed during 1948-49, however, when the level of international tensions was first characterized as a "cold war." By the spring of 1950 Berlin Brigade's primary missions had been defined approximately as at present: to deter aggression, counter wide-spread civil disturbance and defend the city.

By the end of 1947 Soviet obstruction had brought attempts at four-power government in Germany and Berlin to a standstill. Attempts to establish democratic institutions and a degree of self-government were also impeded by the Soviet-controlled Socialist Unity Party or SED, which later became the ruling Communist party in East Germany. The breaking point came in March 1948 when the Soviet Military Governor, Marshal Sokolowsky, walked out of the Allied Control Council. This shattered the remnant of four-power government for all Germany.
  The Soviet presence in the Berlin Kommandatura continued until 18 June 1948 when it ended with a Soviet "withdrawal." On 2 July the Soviets formally notified the Western chiefs of staff that the Soviet Union had terminated participation in the Berlin Komnandatura.. By that time the Soviet Blockade of Berlin and the Allied airlift to counter it were already in progress.

During the 33-month period from July 1945 through March 1948 Soviet representatives had persistently blocked Allied efforts to introduce economic reforms. At the Potsdam Conference the Western Allies had not agreed to the indefinite occupation of Germany, nor to its permanent division. By 1948 they were finally committed to supporting German economic recovery.

The Soviets had blocked the first and most important step, the reform of the German monetary system. By 1948 the Allies had decided to implement the needed reforms in the Western Zones of Occupation. On 16 June 1948 the new "Deutsche Mark" was introduced in West Germany and two days later into the Western Sectors of Berlin. The decision to introduce the new "West Marks" into Berlin triggered the Soviet blockade. Before the blockade, Berlin was supplied largely by rail from the Western Zones. On 21 June the Soviets used the excuse of "technical difficulties" to cut rail communications. In the days that followed other forms of surface access were also blocked. The Soviet Government apparently believed that it could starve the Berliners into submission and force the Western Allies to withdraw from Berlin.
The Allies, led by the United States, responded with an unprecendented use of air power. When the first supply planes landed in Berlin on 26 June 1948, no one knew how long it would last or if it would work. But the Soviets were clearly violating international agreements. General Clay told President Truman that the Berliners would prefer unknown hardships to Communist rule and that they had the will to stick it out. The Berlin Airlift was on.

The Allies, the Berliners, the Air Force and the Army all share in the credit for the success of the airlift. To supply a city of over two million people with the planes available required a miracle of organization on the ground. "Turn-around time" became one of the vital keys to the success of the Airlift. Berlin Brigade personnel devised off-loading systems, worked as guards and checkers and supervised a German workforce of thousands. Army engineers constructed a new runway at Tempelhof in 49 days. On the site of a former German training area, they constructed a new airfield -- Tegel.

Three months after construction started, airlift planes were landing at Tegel. During this "cold war" battle for Berlin field training and many other normal garrison activities were curtailed. Tactical and service units, the available manpower of the Allied garrisons in Berlin was wholly committed to the support of the vital lifeline, the Airlift.

The Blockade lasted for some 324 days. By agreement between the Ambassadors of the four powers in the United Nations -- the so-called Jessup-Malik agreement -- the Blockade was formally ended on 12 May 1949. Operation VITTLES, as the airlift came to be called, continued for another two months while the surface transportation system was restored and stocks in the city brought up to normal levels.

The world breathed a sigh of relief when the Blockade was ended peacefully. Berlin had weathered its first major post-war crisis. Out of those eleven months of tension and exertion in a common cause, the foundation of a new bond of sympathy and mutual respect between the German and American people was laid.


May 12, 1949 was more than the end of the Berlin Blockade. The same day the Allied Military Governors approved a draft constitution for the Western Zones of Occupation, the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was the beginning of a new era.

The end of the Blockade was followed by a period of reorganization. The military government in West Germany ended and in its place the Allied High Commission, eventually located with the new Federal German Government in Bonn, was established to supervise West Germany's transition to full sovereignty. In Berlin the remaining military government functions were combined with those of the U.S. Commandant in a new post, that of the U.S. Commander, Berlin (USCOB). At the same time Berlin Brigade was relieved of its assignment to the Office of Military Government and was assigned directly to the United States Army, Europe. This assignment remained unchanged until December 1961, when USCOB became part of the Brigade's Army chain of command as the Commander, U.S. Army, Berlin.

In 1950 Berlin Brigade began to acquire some of its now familiar characteristics. Most notable was the beginning of the long association between the Brigade and the 6th Infantry. As a result of widespread riots in the city, occasioned by a Communist-sponsored "All German Youth Rally," the 6th Infantry was activated and assigned to Berlin. Throughout all ensuing organizational changes, the 6th Infantry has formed the core of Berlin Brigade's combat strength. The last of these changes occurred in September 1972. Since that time the Brigade's three infantry battalions have all borne the flag of the 6th Infantry.


Throughout the 1950's and 60's Berlin remained a crisis center. Then as now the daily activities of the Berlin Brigade were closely linked to larger policy issues.

From the beginning the United States took the position that the right to be in Berlin -- under wartime and post-war agreements which the Soviet Union had not successfully repudiated -- was inseparable from the right to get to Berlin, the right of access. This became especially important on the autobahn, where, unlike the rail lines and the air corridors, no formal post-war agreements with the Soviets confirmed access rights. On the autobahn the men of the Berlin Brigade, in single vehicles and convoys, were frequently subjected to Soviet and East German harassment. The object was to force upon the Allies new and ever more complex restrictions on the exercise of their access rights. The only way to maintain Allied rights and to assure that the Soviets did not erode them was to use them steadily and oppose all efforts by the Soviets to introduce changes to which the Allies had not agreed. Exercising Allied rights on the surface access routes became one of the Brigade's most important missions. As a result, Brigade soldiers were often the first to bear the brunt of new Soviet tactics and policies.


November 1958 marked the beginning of a new and more prolonged period of crisis in Berlin and on the access routes. In what was known as the "Krushchev Ultimatum," the Soviet Union posed a serious threat to the future status of the city. The United States rejected the ultimatum and its six-month deadline passed without incident. A conference of Western and Soviet foreign ministers, which convened the following summer (June 1959) in Geneva, failed to reconcile the longstanding differences. The Allies demanded free, U.N.-supervised elections in all Germany as a preliminary to reunification. At this 1959 meeting of the four foreign ministers, the first since the Berlin Conferences of 1954, the Soviets made what they knew to be unacceptable demands. In effect they said that, in the foreseeable future, there was no possibility of agreement to reunify Germany on terms acceptable to the United States and the Western Alliance.

With hopes of reunification wining and international tensions over Berlin running high, East Berliners and East Germans began, as the West Berliners put it, "voting with their feet." During the 30-month period from November 1958 through July 1961 West Berlin became the escape hatch for a steadily increasing stream of East German refugees. In July 1961 as many as 3,000 escaped in a single day. The daily average for July and early August was about 1,800 per day. In terms of manpower, East Germany was bleeding to death. The Communist leadership solved the problem with brutal simplicity.
  Before dawn on 13 August 1961 the East Germans sealed all but seven of the crossing points between the Soviet Sector and West Berlin. Twenty-eight miles of barbed-wire and barriers went up across the city and construction of the Berlin Wall began.

At the time the combat-arms units of Berlin Brigade consisted of two pentomic battle groups (1,362 officers and men each) -- the 2d and 3d Battle Groups of the 6th Infantry -- and Company F, 40th Armor. Three days after the sealing of the sector-sector boundaries, President John F. Kennedy ordered the reinforcement of the Brigade. He ordered that the reinforcement be accomplished in a way that would convince the Soviet Union that the United States had no intention of backing down from its commitment to free Berlin. On Saturday the 19th of August Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and General Lucius D. Clay (the former Military Governor and, among Berliners, probably the most revered living American) flew into Berlin. The next day the 1st Battle Group, 18th Infantry (reinforced), some 1,500 officers and men, moved over the autobahn from Helmstedt to Berlin. In full battle gear, they paraded through the center of the city and were reviewed by the Vice President and General Clay. During the three and one-half years that followed, a different infantry battle group (after September 1963, they were infantry battalions organized as
at present) was rotated into Berlin at 90-day intervals. In keeping with the political and psychological purpose of demonstrating American intentions, they exercised Allied access rights by moving in over the autobahn.

During the Berlin Wall Crisis, the basic principle of American policy remained unchanged: International agreements have the force of law and cannot be changed except by the common consent of the countries that made them. They cannot be changed by force or the threat of force, but only by negotiation. American history had shown that the American people wanted to live in a law-abiding world, which would be possible only if all countries lived up to their international commitments. The principle was simple.

The United States, Great Britain and France were (and are) in Berlin as a result of international agreements made with the Soviet Union. Those agreements apply not just to West Berlin, but to Greater Berlin as defined by law, all of it. As a result, throughout the Berlin Wall crisis, the United States refused to compromise on agreed rights deriving from the four-power status of the city. Men of the Berlin Brigade went on patrols along the Wall and to East Berlin because free circulation to all parts of the city was the right of the United States under international law. Rather than sacrifice even the tiny exclave village of Steinstuecken, General Clay flew into it by helicopter in September 1961. Thereafter, until October 1972 (when the problem was solved by agreement), a three-man detachment of Military Police from the Brigade's 287th MP Company was stationed there and rotated by helicopter. Their presence was not just symbolic; it was necessary since the East Germans harassed the residents crossing the access roadway through East German territory, frequently refused ambulances and fire trucks and prevented West Berlin police from entering the village by road. As General Clay saw it Steinstuecken was by law -- and today remains -part of the American Sector.


Taken together, the events of the Berlin Wall Crisis were the most serious in the city's post-war history. Confrontations with the Russians at the autobahn and rail checkpoints and in East Berlin during the years between 1958 and 1965 were frequent; detentions were sometimes prolonged. Whether it was Soviet APC's trying to enter West Berlin, or Soviet jet fighters constantly buzzing the city, intentionally creating sonic booms, the Berlin Brigade showed the flag, reassuring the people of West Berlin that they would not be forced to live under East German rule. What that meant in human terms was illustrated by an incident which occurred at the height of the Wall Crisis. An American reporter asked a calm Berliner if he wasn't worried that the Allies might be forced out of the city. By that time, crisis was almost "normal" for Berlin. The Berliner shrugged. Yes, he was worried. But..."Your families are still here."
  The Berlin Wall Crisis didn't exactly end, it wound down. By the end of 1962 the crisis as such had eased, but East-West tensions remained high. Soviet harassment on the access routes, severe during the period 1962-64, also eased gradually. By the spring of 1967 the severe harassments of Allied military traffic had virtually ended. For the most part the access procedures now observed had been firmly established. Severe East German harassment of West German transit traffic continued through January 1971.

In September of that year the four powers signed the first Berlin agreement since June 1949. The Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971 came into force on 3 June 1972. It confirmed long-disputed Allied access rights, greatly improved the conditions of civil access, and compared with the 1965-69 timeframe, resulted in a significant reduction of East-West tensions over Berlin. By setting the seal of international agreement on the Berlin situation as it had evolved since 1949, the Quadripartite Agreement marked the end of an era.

  The gradual easing of the situation in Berlin after 1965 was paralleled by the buildup of U.S. ground-combat operations in Vietnam. By 1968 the Army's requirements for highly skilled and trained personnel in southeast Asia led to shorter tours in Berlin. During the period 1969-70 the Brigade drew on the experience of its combat veterans to provide a specialized type of training to orient men slated for reassignment to Vietnam. Eventually the requirements of the war necessitated the first serious curtailments in the Brigade's field-training program since the Blockade era. Hard on the heels of the end of ground-combat in Vietnam, the onset of the energy crisis (Nov 73) posed further long-term problems.

By the end of 1972 the Brigade's authorized strength had been fully restored. With tensions in the Divided City at the lowest level in two decades, attention focused on training. In many ways 1973-74 marked a turning point in the history of the Brigade. In the absence of crisis, many of the Brigade's traditional missions were less demanding. The resulting opportunity for new initiatives paralleled developments in the Army as a whole.
  Seen in historical perspective Berlin Brigade, no less than the Army as a whole, responded to the challenges of creating the Army of the seventies. The problems confronting the Army in the seventies were America's problems; the nation was entering a new era of social consciousness. Among other new goals were efforts to contain drug and alcohol abuse and to achieve a new understanding for the problems of minority groups and women.

The Brigade achieved considerable success in countering the debilitating effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Comparative statistics suggested that Berlin was not confronted with a major problem in this area. Preventive medicine through counseling centers and reeducation of the entire community coupled with a meaningful and challenging training program offered the best prospect for longterm success.

Most important in the areas of awakening social consciousness was a new sensitivity to the problems of racial and ethnic minorities. Though the Brigade was not free of racial incidents, it recorded some distinguished successes. Race relations personnel of the Brigade were selected to attend the first course at the Defense Race Relations Institute. There followed during 1972-76 a graduated series of race relations seminars for military personnel of all ranks and the command's career civil servants. A milestone in the Brigade's program came in November 1973 when a three-day exposition, Ethnic Expo 73, enabled the entire community to see and experience the
cultural heritage of America's minority groups. Efforts to enhance racial understanding also included seminars given in the Brigade's School of Standards for newly assigned personnel. Overall, the specialists working in the equal opportunity program agreed that Berlin Brigade had achieved a considerable degree of racial harmony.
Most significant and far-reaching of the events shaping the Army of the seventies was the decision to create an all-volunteer Army. Historically related to that decision were new training concepts which, taken collectively, constituted the broadest, most imaginative and ambitious program in the Army's 200-year history.

In 1972, the Army announced the concept of "decentralized" training, which fixed the initiative for planning and executing unit training at the company level. To provide additional variety and scope for initiative the idea of "adventure training" came into play the same year.

Adventure training was not a substitute for standard training requirements. Berlin Brigade units continued to train in company class rooms and areas, sports facilities and in the wooded areas of the city. They also participated in Allied field training with the British and the French. Army training tests, tank and artillery qualifications were conducted at USAREUR's Major Training Areas in West Germany.

Adventure training, however, was an opportunity that rewarded leadership initiatives, fostering esprit, the "All the Way" spirit. In this area, the "firsts" of the Berlin Brigade showed the Army in Europe what could be accomplished. During 1973-74 Berlin Brigade achievements in adventure training included mountain training in Italy, France and Scotland; skiing in southern Germany; crossing the English Channel in kyacks; and scaling the heights behind the Normandy beaches, reenacting the World War II landing on the coast of France (6 Jun 44).

Brigade units also scored firsts in combining normal training activities with normal mission activities. Showing the flag, of course, remained a vital part of the mission. Rarely has it been shown more dramatically than in January 1975 when the 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry, accompanied by the USCOB, the Brigade Commander and members of the General Staff, conducted the first marathon Wall run" along the entire 100-mile circumference of West Berlin.

Berlin's urban environment is such that, in mission training, high priority is given to combat in cities. To facilitate this type of training, a new combat in cities range, with concrete structures closely simulating actual conditions was completed in the spring of 1975. In addition, several times each year units of the Brigade use the West German Army's training village at Hammelburg near Schweinfurt. Finally, since 1972 the Brigade Staff has periodically reviewed both training experience and recent historical models as potentially significant for Army-wide, combat in cities doctrine.

Now as in the past t is an exciting time and a rewarding experience to serve with the Berlin Brigade.


Deeply imbedded in the traditions of the Berlin Brigade are the harsh realities of the environment in which it serves. Running through what once were store fronts, through woods and along waterways, the Wall itself is an inescapable reminder of the Brigade's mission. It is not along the Wall, however, but along the city's great boulevards, especially the Kurfuerstendamm, that the reason for the mission becomes clear: Two million people, undaunted by the Wall, daily express their belief in freedom, progress and human dignity.

In May 1975, speaking before Berlin's House of Representatives, the Secretary of State recalled these basic American values, of which free Berlin had become a living symbol, adding: "This is why this city means so much to us. For thirty years you have symbolized our challenges; for thirty years also you have recalled us to our duty. You have been an inspiration to all free men."

The pride and tradition of the Berlin Brigade are inseparable from the challenges of service in a unique situation. Nor is "unique" an exaggeration. The situation of West Berlin since World War II has no close parallel in human history. From uniqueness has evolved a unique and complex set of problems. A careless action can create an international incident; a hasty or ill-considered action can create a precedent which opens the door to still other, unforeseen difficulties. The facts of geography are adverse and Berlin remains vulnerable to every wind of change.

Confronted at every point of the compass, it is the enduring distinction of the Berlin Brigade to live with the dangers and rise to the challenges.

1945 - 1980
(Source: "Checkpoint Charlie ", Pamphlet 870-1, US Command, Berlin and US Army, Berlin, 1980.)
USCOB/USAB Pam 870-1

Checkpoint Charlie
Military History Branch, G-3 Division
US Command, Berlin and US Army, Berlin
1. Introduction

In the 19 years since Checkpoint CHARLIE came into being, virtually overnight, events have endowed the area with a dramatic mystique. It has been the scene of historical events and continues, in fact, to have a high potential for incidents. However, like the Wall itself, the drab physical reality of the Checkpoint area is in striking contrast with the dramatic situations of the Wall-crisis era. The Checkpoint itself, and the evolution of its operations, were an integral part of Allied responses to events. Basically, it is the mission of the Checkpoint, and the personnel of the Berlin Brigade's 287th Military Police Company who man it, to support the exercise of Allied rights in Greater Berlin. On a daily basis, they enforce U.S. regulations governing official travel to the Soviet (East) Sector of Berlin. They brief individual travelers and generally carry out policies intended to minimize the possibility of involvement by U.S. personnel in incidents, such as might have political repercussions.

The history of Checkpoint CHARLIE is the history of events which, in the first place gave rise to a U.S. Army facility in the middle of Friedrichstrasse. An account of the facility alone would be of technical interest only, like a description of a bare stage when no performance is in progress. The Checkpoint facilities came into being in response to a crisis situation so grave that the course of events largely overshadowed the implementing details.

The following account is intentionally brief. It aims to keep the Checkpoint, insofar as possible, in the center of events. Excepting basic points relevant to the narrative, Checkpoint procedures and regulations governing travel to East Berlin have been omitted. These are dealt with principally in U.S. Army, Europe and U.S. Command, Berlin Regulations 550-180. Under these regulations, it is the responsibility of commanders, supervisors, sponsors and the individuals concerned to ensure that Berlin-based personnel and persons traveling to Berlin are fully informed before they enter the Soviet Sector.

2. Free Circulation - The Allied Legal Position

The wartime London Protocols (1944-45) provided for the joint military occupation of Greater Berlin. The agreed geographic and jurisdictional bases for the Protocols were the boundaries of Greater Berlin as defined by German Law in 1920. The right of free circulation for members of the respective forces, in all four Sectors, was inherent in the concept of joint occupation. In the early years of the occupation it had been repeatedly confirmed by Four-Power agreements, and by implementing arrangements and precedents having the force of Four-Power agreements. The significance of the Wall, then, was twofold. The human tragedy of the Wall, which, as it snaked across the city, walled up houses and stores and separated families, is well known. Its legal significance to the Allies, constrained to maintain their rights in order to fulfill their guarantees of continued freedom and democratic process to the people of Berlin, is less well known. The legal significance of the Wall was that it imposed, or sought to impose, among other things, a unilateral limitation on the Allied right of free circulation. In general, the Allied response to Soviet efforts to force them out of Berlin was to insist on their legal rights. This meant that the situation created by Four-Power agreements could not be changed except by the same means, agreement of all Four Powers. The Soviet Union (or its "agents", i.e. the East Germans) could not legally impose new restrictions on the exercise of Allied rights in Berlin unless the Western Allies agreed. Thus it was Allied policy to oppose as illegal Soviet-East German attempts to do so. The Wall -- that is, the sealing of the Sector-Sector (S/S) boundary and the beginning of construction of the Wall -- was a major unilateral change which, had it not been vigorously opposed, would have significantly restricted the Allied right of access to East Berlin. This threat to Allied rights, combined as it was with a significant worsening of conditions for the people of Berlin, was correctly understood as a further peril to the continued democratic existence of the Western Sectors of Berlin.

3. The Friedrichstrasse Crossing Point

The boundary between the Western Sectors and the Soviet Sector is some 28.5 miles long, the so-called S/S border. From July 1945 to mid-August 1961, "free circulation" closely approximated what the term implies. For occupation purposes, the division of the city among the World War II Allies had been by administrative district (Bezirk). Thus the S/S border wound its way in a generally north-westerly direction, following the jurisdictional lines laid down in 1920. Near the center of this boundary the heart of the old city, "Berlin-Mitte", formed a westward salient of the Soviet Sector, which included the Brandenburg Gate. "Crossing Points" followed the main streets, the arteries of traffic. Before the war, more than 120 streets crossed the imaginary line drawn in the London Protocols. In early August 1961 some 80 crossing points remained open and passable in both directions. They were (relatively) lightly manned by East Germans and largely unfortified. Included in the 80 open crossing points were the Brandenburg Gate/Unter den Linden (east-west) and the Friedrichstrasse (north-south).

In the pre-dawn hours of 13 August 1961, the East Germans sealed the S/S border and, during the ensuing days, began construction of the Wall. Initially, 13 of the 80 pre-Wall crossing points were to have remained open. During the ensuing ten days, mass demonstrations by West Berliners at the Brandenburg Gate gave the East Germans a pretext for closing it and five more pre-Wall crossing points. Only seven remained "open", subject to severe restrictions. Friedrichstrasse was one of them. After some initial uncertainties, the East Germans announced that Friedrichstrasse would be the only crossing point open to "foreigners", including West Germans, the Diplomatic Corps in East Berlin, and personnel of the Allied Garrisons. It was also to be an authorized crossing point for pedestrian traffic.

Before the Wall, Friedrichstrasse did not differ significantly from other major crossing points. The street itself was rich in historic associations. It had been a main Berlin thoroughfare since the time of Friedrich Wilhelm (1713-1740), when troops of the Berlin garrison first marched along it to their training ground in Tempelhof. Under the German Empire (1871-1918) it had also been a main shopping street. It is probable, however, that purely practical considerations dictated the selection of principal crossing points. (Based on the sequence of events, it is possible that the East Germans first intended to keep the Brandenburg Gate open as a major crossing point, and changed their minds after the West Berliners had shown how suitable its broad approaches were for mass demonstrations.) Certainly there were several practical considerations which favored Friedrichstrasse as a main crossing point.

Friedrichstrasse is a main North-South artery and the longest street in central Berlin. Absolutely straight and some two miles in length, it bisects the Unter den Linden, running from Mehringplatz in the U.S. Sector's Kreuzberg District to the Oranienburg Gate in Berlin-Mitte. In addition, the restored Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof, pre-war Berlin's main rail terminal, is barely a mile north of the S/S border and affords access to both the U-Bahn (subway) and the S-Bahn (elevated rail system), the city's main public transportation systems. The intention to make the Friedrichstrasse station the only point of entry into East Berlin for persons using the public transportation systems was announced the same day the border was sealed. The intent to restrict Allied traffic to the Friedrichstrasse crossing point was not announced until 22 August 1961, by which time, as noted above, the number of crossing points had been further reduced from 13 to 7.

4. Pre-Wall Controls

Some controls on civil traffic existed before the Wall. The political division of the city occurred late in 1948. Apparently the Soviet authorities established, or provided for the establishment of the first control points on the S/S border at that time. In December of 1948, the Communist rump of the Magistrat (or city council) in East Berlin ordered that commercial vehicles from the Western Sectors would be required to enter East Berlin at these control points. By 1953, the number of crossing points passable in both directions had been reduced to about 80. Although information is spotty, there is no evidence of overt attempts to impose controls on traffic of the Allied garrisons. (In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we can only speculate on whether the Allies had, prior to the Wall, accepted some minor restriction of free circulation; where neither political fanfare nor systematic threat to the principle of Allied rights was involved, some local arrangements may have gained a kind of pragmatic sanction. Prior to 1961, the main arena appears to have been the surface access routes, not East Berlin.) Since pre-Wall controls were aimed at civil traffic, it is likely that the early control points were manned by East Germans. In September 1960, the East German regime introduced selective controls at the S/S border, restricting West Germans to the use of five specified crossing points. These early precedents, however, were of marginal significance when compared to the Wall, which marked a major turning point.

5. Significance of the Wall

As tensions in Berlin mounted in the summer of 1961, so did the flow of escapees from East Germany and the Soviet Sector. In July and early August, the number of persons escaping into the Western Sectors averaged 1,800 per day; reportedly the high for a single day exceeded 3,000. From the standpoint of the Communist leadership in East Germany, the German Democratic Republic (G.D.R.) was, through massive losses of manpower, bleeding to death. West Berlin was the escape hatch, an open wound that had to be closed.

The Wall was a Draconian measure to keep East Germans in. In a Four-Power context, however, it also marked a turning point. Prior to the Wall, Soviet authorities had often been uncooperative, themselves describing East Berlin as "the capital of the G.D.R.". In the days immediately preceding the Wall, the Soviet Government loudly repeated the long-standing (since 1958) demand for the withdrawal of the Allies and the conversion of the Western Sectors to a "free city". (The Soviets did not offer convincing proposals to guarantee West Berlin's continued existence as a democratic city.) In permitting the East Germans to seal the S/S border, and to attempt to impose controls upon the Allies, the Soviets added physical separation to the other means employed against the Allies, to force their assent to unilateral Soviet changes in the Four Power status of Greater Berlin.

Despite steady Soviet-East German harassment, the Allies continued to exercise their rights in Berlin including the right of access to the Soviet Sector. The dramatic turning point in the dispute occurred in late October 1961.

Intensified surveillance of the S/S border began on 13 August when it was sealed. The decision to restrict Allied traffic to a single crossing point quickly focused attention on the Friedrichstrasse area. Paralleling rising tensions and movement toward the U.S.-Soviet confrontation that almost immediately made it famous, the physical dimension of Checkpoint CHARLIE began to take shape.

6. Checkpoint CHARLIE

The events of August 1961 dictated a requirement for a continuous U.S. military presence in the Friedrichstrasse area, where none had been before. The new situation at the S/S border was comparable to that which had long existed on the Berlin-Helmstedt autobahn, where single points of entry (or exit) gave access to the only route used by Allied motor-vehicle traffic. Allied Checkpoints at Helmstedt-Marienborn (between East and West Germany) and Dreilinden-Babelsburg (between the U.S. Sector and East Germany) supported Allied access and the exercise of Allied access right.* In the jargon of Army voice-communications, these autobahn checkpoint had long been called ALFA (Helmstedt) and BRAVO (Berlin). When the Wall created a new situation in the middle of Berlin and a third designated access point for the Allies, it immediately entered the Berlin vocabulary as Checkpoint CHARLIE. (Apparently, this was a logical and spontaneous extension of existing usage. At any rate, there is no known written record of a formal decision on what to call the new Checkpoint.) Unlike ALFA and BRAVO, intensive press coverage of events in the area gave "Checkpoint CHARLIE" an enduring place in the world's cold-war vocabulary.

The East German measure to make Friedrichstrasse the only crossing point for foreigners, including the members of the forces in Berlin, went into effect at midnight on 22 August. During the ensuing days, combat troop of the three Allies screened the S/S border in their respective Sectors. Because of its location in the U.S. Sector, sole responsibiity for Friedrichstrasse was initially exercised by U. S. forces. An ad hoc detachment of U. S. Military Police began checkpoint operations in Friedrichstrasse on 23 August, in connection with the deployment of combat forces along the demarcation line. By 26 September, when heavier screening forces were withdrawn and thrice-daily patrols along the S/S border instituted, Checkpoint CHARLIE had become operational.

*In 1969, a new link at the Berlin end of the autobahn was completed and the Soviet Allied Checkpoints were moved to their present location near Drewitz.

On 1 September, U.S. authorities formally requisitioned space in the buildings on the West side of Friedrichstrasse in the block between Kochstrasse and Zimmerstrasse (which paralleled the actual demarcation line at that point). Number 207 Friedrichstrasse -- where travelers to East Berlin are still briefed -- and two rooms in the corner building at 19a Zimmerstrasse were allocated for use by U. S. Forces. According to a verified account, the first checkpoint operations were conducted from a desk in a U. S. Army semi-trailer placed in the middle of Friedrichstrasse in front of Number 207.* Probably the familiar white ("barracks style") structure had been set up in the middle of the street by mid-September. A rough-hewn, disproportionately large flag pole bracketed to the north end of the "shack" served to fly the colors unmistakeably near the Soviet Sector line. Although refinements were gradually added, the physical layout of the checkpoint area changed very little during the ensuing years.**

During the first year of operations, official reports referred to the Friedrichstrasse crossing point or checkpoint, carefully avoiding local jargon in reports to higher headquarters. But the Checkpoint came into being literally overnight. During its first ten weeks in operation the level of greatpower tensions underlying the events that swirled around it was the highest in Berlin's post-war history. The news media gave intensive coverage to these events, in reporting them the press took their cue from the sign the Army put up over the door at No. 207 Friedrichstrasse. By 1965 the Friedrichstrasse area was in the guide books and, literally, on the map as Checkpoint CHARLIE.

* British and French detachments were not continuously stationed at Checkpoint CHARLIE until 1962, as a result of efforts to harmonize Allied procedures and practices. (Intvw, Mr. K.M. Johnson, Berlin Command Historian with LTC Verner N. Pike, Cdr, 385th MP Bn, 27 Jan 77.)

** Although an extension to the south end provided working space for the British and French detachments, the original guard shack was in continous use for nearly 15 years. The outward appearance of the Checkpoint was changed very little by the prefabricated structure which replaced the original shack in May 1976.

7. Historical Highlights

a. U. S.-Soviet Confrontation. The events of October 1961 catapulted Checkpoint CHARLIE into world prominence. The deepening crisis over the Four-Power status of Berlin endowed it with the lingering cold-war symbolism its name still evokes. Of the many dramatic events which occurred at or near the Checkpoint, the direct confrontation between U.S. and Soviet forces across the S/S border was probably the tensest moment in Berlin's post-war history. At issue was an East German attempt to deny free, uncontrolled entry into the Soviet Sector to civilian members of the forces in Berlin. They demanded that persons not actually in uniform identify themselves. Since status as members of the forces in Berlin derived from Allied laws agreed to by the Four Powers, and confirmed by long-standing precedents, the attempt to exclude civilian officials directly affected Allied rights. Then as now, "members of the forces", including military personnel, civilian employees and their dependents were prohibited from submitting to East German controls. The issues involved were complex and were not fully resolved until 1966. However, U.S. authorities in Berlin supported by General Lucius D. Clays* were convinced that East German attempts to actually deny entry into East Berlin could not go unchallenged. As a result, U. S. forces in the Checkpoint area were reinforced with tanks and armored personnel carriers (APC); one of the APCs and two tanks were positioned north of the Checkpoint building right at the S/S demarcation line.

Beginning on 26 October, U.S. forces registered vehicles denied entry into East Berlin because non-uniformed personnel refused to identify themselves, were given an armed escort of jeep-mounted Military Police and sent back through the crossing point. Neither Soviet authorities nor East Germam police attempted to stop the escorted vehicles. By 1700 hours the next day, however, Soviet troops and armor had moved into position on their side of the S/S line. During the ensuing 24 hours, foreign and diplomatic travelers continued to move unmolested through the checkpoint. Until approximately 1100 hours on 28 October, Soviet and U. S. troops and tanks faced each other across the Friedrichstrasse boundary. At that time, both Soviet and U. S. forces withdrew into nearby staging areas on their respective sides. Inherent in the civilian-identification issue was the Four-Power status of Greater Berlin. The Western Allies insisted, in the face of Soviet disclaimers, that the Soviet Union remain responsible for its Sector. The firm U. S. position on the issue led to a Soviet demonstration, documented world-wide by the news media, of its ultimate responsibility for events in East Berlin. While the confrontation was in progress, General Clay called a news conference and pointedly announced the significance of the events then taking place: "The fiction that it was the East Germans who were responsible for trying to prevent Allied access to East Berlin is now destroyed. The fact that Soviet tanks appeared on the scene proves that the haressments. . . taking place at Friedrichstrasse were not those of the self-styled East German government but ordered by its Soviet masters".

* The former U. S. Military Governor for Germany (1947-49), GEN Clay returned to Berlin in September 1961 as President Kennedy's personal representative with ambassadorial rank.

b. Subsequent Events. Although the tense situation of 1961 was not repeated, Checkpoint CHARLIE continued to make news. Incidents related to the identification issue continued sporadically until 1966 when the present U.S. Forces Berlin identity document came into general use. Three days after the first anniversary of the Wall (17 Aug 62), the death of Peter Fechter some 100 meters east of the Checkpoint triggered mass demonstrations of West Berliners against the brutality of the East German Regime.* In the days that followed, crowds of West Berliners stoned Soviet buses as they brought their guard relief through Checkpoint CHARLIE enroute to the Soviet War Memorial in the Tiergarten (British Sector). In retaliation, the Soviets tried to bring their guard mount in with APCs. Ultimately, after a long series of incidents, Allied authorities prevailed upon them to discontinue the use of APCs, and to use the Sandkrug-Bridge crossing point, nearest their destination.

The gradual decline of cold-war tensions in Berlin greatly reduced the number and severity of incidents at the Checkpoint. As recently as 1973, however, East German border guards opened fire with automatic weapons, hitting the Checkpoint building in several places. From the number and position of rounds that hit it, some going through windows and impacting in the inside walls, it was clear that only random chance had prevented injury to U. S. personnel.

8. Epilogue

  At the Berlin end of the Helmstedt autobahn (Dreilinden, U.S. Sector), a permanent modern Checkpoint building was completed in 1970, Allied Checkpoint BRAVO. On 5 October 1979, a comparably permanent structure was formally opened at Helmstedt, Checkpoint ALFA. But Checkpoint CHARLIE remains, symbolically, a temporary structure. The first, rough-hewn shack was in continuous use for 15 years. In outward appearance, the prefabricated Checkpoint that replaced it in May 1976 seems little changed, retaining a look of substantial impermanence. Symbolically, the Allies have never built a permanent structure in the Friedrichstrasse, because they believe that Checkpoint CHARLIE and the Wall which produced it cannot last forever. Someday Berlin must again be one city.

In signing the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971, U.S. authorities took the position that its area of applicability, like the earlier Four-Power agreements, was Greater Berlin. In January 1977, however, the Soviet news media (PRAVDA) again offered a lengthy and twisted interpretation of the 1971 Agreement, by which they claimed to show that now Four-Power agreements apply only to the Western Sectors. This issue is, of course, the key to understanding Berlin's post-war history. It was also the main issue in the events which led to the creation and continuing missions of Checkpoint CHARLIE.
* An East Berliner in his late teens, Fechter was trying to escape when he was shot and wounded by East German guards. They left him unattended at the base of the Wall, where he died some time later. His cries for help were clearly heard on the West Berlin side, but no one could get to him. He is probably the best known symbol of East German brutality at the Wall.

COMMENTS on Checkpoint Charlie

A small clarification relating to events in September, 1962, provided by John Hehir who served as OIC at the checkpoint
I found the Checkpoint Charlie history document to be interesting reading, especially since I served as OIC of the checkpoint for a month at the end of 1962.

One point in the history, however, was humorous. In Section 8, sub-paragraph B. "Subsequent Events", it says that the "Allied authorities prevailed upon them (the Russians) to discontinue the use of APCs, and to use the Sandkrug Bridge crossing point, nearest their destination (the Russian War Memorial on Strasse des 17 June).

In fact, the manner in which the Allied persuaded them was by issuing an ultimatum that they could no longer cross at any other point and could not use APC's. To back up that ultimatum, the Allies sent small units to each of the major crossing points in the middle of the night (around American Labor Day). Those units carried live ammunition including grenades and 7.62 ammo and were charged with the mission of blocking their respective crossing points utilizing their vehicles and live ammunition as necessary. I headed up the unit which established Checkpoint Delta (the Heinrich Heine Strasse crossing point). Needless to say, this show of force had its intended effect and no ammunition was ever expended. Nevertheless, it clearly reminded me how serious (and potentially dangerous) the job of maintaining our rights and position in Berlin really was.

(Source: BERLIN OBSERVER, Aug 31, 1990)
Removal of Checkpoint Charlie in 1990

Several articles are presented that cover the removal of the Checkpoint hut and some history of the Checkpoint.

1. Page 1

2. Page 4

Page 5

Page 8

(Source: American Forces in Berlin - Cold War Outpost, by Robert P. Grathwol and Donita M. Moorhus, DoD Legacy Resource Management Program, 1994)
  This wonderful (and well-illustrated) book presents the history of the American forces in West Berlin and depicts the people, places and events that occurred in this Allied outpost between the years 1945 and 1994.

Berlin District
19.. - 19..
(Source: "We Drive the Ten Tonners, A picture book of Truckers Life and Service in the ETO," 3574th QM Trk Co (Hvy)(TC), May 1946)

  In late 1945-1946, the 3574th QM Trk Co was engaged in hauling service supplies to and from Southern Germany, Belgium, Holland, France and Poland with Berlin as the center of operations.

On 1 July 1946, the EUCOM history (Vol. IV of the Second Yearof the Occupation) shows 1 QM Trk battalion assigned/attached to the Berlin District. This battalion was composed of 1 light and 1 heavy truck company in addition to several technical Labor Service units. (There were also two Car Companies in Berlin). The heavy truck company was most likely the 3574th.


The image displayed above (taken from the cover of the picture booklet on the left) is a good example of bumper codes used by US forces in the early Occupation period:
USF   US Forces, European Theater (USFET)
BD   Berlin District
3574   unit number
Q   Quartermaster
(TC)   Transportation Corps
TRK   Truck
23   vehicle number

Each vehicle was assigned a number in the sequence in which that vehicle would normally appear in the order of march. The codes were applied to the front and rear vehicles by the use of stencils.

3574th QM Trk Co


1. Company motor pool (KB)

2. Company undergoes general inspection (KB)


The Berlin Sentinel - Some of the issues published while in Germany

Oct 5, 1945

Sep 25, 1945 Vol. 1, No. 1 Berlin
Oct 5, 1945 Vol. 1, No. 2 Berlin
Oct 13, 1945 Vol. 1, No. 3 Berlin  
Oct 20, 1945 Vol. 1, No. 4 Berlin
Oct 27, 1945 Vol. 1, No. 5 Berlin
Nov 3, 1945 Vol. 1, No. 6 Berlin this & subsequent issues missing

Aviation Detachment, Berlin Bde
(Source: STARS & STRIPES, June 11, 1968)
Army Aviation Detachment, Berlin Brigade

The Army Avn Det, commanded by Col William S. Cox, has a complement of
six UH-1B Huey helicopters
one L-19 reconnaissance airplane
one U-8D Seminole command airplane

The Detachment is located at Tempelhof Air Base (an Air Force installation). Its hangars are close to the commercial side of the airfield.

One of the missions of the detachment is to run helicopter patrols (aerial surveillance) along the Berlin Wall and rest of the border surrounding West Berlin -- to supplement other (jeep and boat) border reconnaissance missions performed on the ground by other elements of Berlin Brigade. These border patrol flights have been going on since the late 1940s.

The short flight (US Sector only) is run daily - once or twice a week the Det runs a long flight that encompasses the British and French sectors. A regular patrol crew consists of pilot, copilot, crew chief and a Brigade G-2 observer (who is picked up at Andrews Barracks).

Other missions of the Det include brigade troop lifts in support of field exercises and border orientation flights for visitors, including British and French officials. (British and French forces in Berlin do not maintain helicopters in their sectors.)

Routinely, one helicopter is used to fly in supplies to Army MP's who are assigned guard duty in the Steinstuecken Enclave.

(Source: BERLIN OBSERVER, Aug 4, 1989)
Aviation Det. holds flight safety record

By Ron Gardiner

Sgt. Ruben Luevano unhooks the hoist from a UH-1 Huey
Berlin's Aviation Detachment has only nine aircraft, yet the pilots manage to log between 2,300 - 2,500 hours annually, and from Oct. 1, 1987 - Sept. 30, 1988 they did so with a zero aviation accident rate.

That fact will be recognized today when U.S. Commander, Berlin, Maj. Gen. Raymond Haddock, presents the detachment with a USAREUR and Seventh Army certificate of achievement for aviation safety.

Berlin's Aviation Detachment is relatively small. With a fleet of six UH-1 Huey helicopters, one C-12 airplane and two observation planes, the detachment supports the city by flying a variety of missions including VIP support, tactical training with U.S., British and French troops; assistance to Polizei and water police; and, transport missions to various parts of Europe. The helicopters, however, each emblazoned with "Freedom City" on the shiny, green skin, stay in the city.
The detachment's maintenance facilities include two overhead hoists, and the mechanics and technical inspectors do all authorized work under the light's green glow in the football-field-size hanger on Templehof Central Airport's flightline.

According to Safety Officer CWO4 Eddy King, the award is for day-to-day safety, working every mission as safely as possible, not only the pilots, but the maintenance team and operations office as well.

The unit was able to maintain a zero accident record by pulling together as a team, he said.

The unit's personnel perform many checks to keep the aircraft safely in the air, and determine the ones in need of repair.

According to Maintenance Officer Capt. Thomas Gainey, they use the phase inspection system to thoroughly check out each aircraft every 150 flight hours in a six-phase series. Some of the checks include taking oil samples and changing the interior transmission filter. Others require the engine be flushed.

The safety record goes back well beyond the award dates. The last major aircraft accident was in 1969 when a helicopter made an emergency landing in a Mariendorf garden. Since then
only one minor incident has been reported; a bent propeller on one of the observation planes in 1982.

In addition to the unit's safety record, it has a record of hospitality. From 1961-72 the unit flew a "mini-airlift" to the exclave of Steinstucken providing those isolated residents of Zehlendorf supplies and greater access to West Berlin.


Aviation Detachment, Berlin Brigade

(Source: BERLIN OBSERVER, Nov 30, 1990)
Aviators fly 21 years accident free

The Berlin Brigade's Aviation Detachment completed another year of accident-free aviation duty Sept. 29. With nine aircraft in the detachment's inventory, the unit logged more than 1,500 hours. The event commemorates 21 years of safe flying within Berlin air space.

The unit's mission includes VIP flights, air assault, static displays, and formation flying.

Aviation safety officer CW3 Frank Cicneros said, "Safety starts when we wake up in the morning and continues through the entire day, until we go to sleep. Safety is our job. If we don't do things right the first time, accidents happen and people get hurt. The combined effort has paid off. Safety is not taken for granted. Our goal has been to train safely."

Lieutenant Col. Doug Powell, Aviation Detachment commander, has a philosophy of system safety and ensures its principles are used within each section of the organization, Cicneros said.

The Operation Section is responsible for planning, scheduling and executing all missions in a timely manner. Two essential ingredients are assigning crews based on their experience level, and ensuring that all crews have been properly briefed before take off. Also, Operations mandates that each pilot in command gives pre-flight briefings to ensures the missions are fully understood. After each flight, the pilot in command is required to give a post-mission debrief to Operations detailing the mission, Cicneros said.

The Standardization Section ensures all crew members are current and qualified in their aircraft. Their rigorous standardization program consists of no-notice check rides, annual flight evaluations and written examinations, he said.

The Maintenance Section ensures that sound maintenance practices are applied before flights. This prevents in-flight maintenance-related mishaps. A system application of safety management principles includes daily inspection of each aircraft before and after every flight of the day, regular intervalinspectionsevery 25,50 and 150 hours, technical inspections of all work, and test flights to confirm flight readiness, Cicneros said.

Also, the unit's Quality Control Section works with mechanics to ensure by-the-book procedures. With 12 soldiers, nine civilians and a secretary, the maintenance team is responsible for the tool room, battery, calibration, aviation life support, avionics, and prop and rotor shops.

In his role as aviation safety officer, Cicneros advises, recommends and makes on-the-spot corrections to ensure that all workers get proper safety information, he said. The safety officer advises the commander with sufficient input to maximize mission readiness. tie implements a program to reduce accidental loss of material and injury to soldiers. But his primary responsibility is to be a fully operational pilot whose focus is on safety. In addition to conducting monthly safety meetings and inspections, he ensures that aviation operational procedures are developed to maximize safety and mission accomplishment.

Signal Support Company, Berlin Bde
(Source: ECHO, March 1987)

The Bocksberg - Berlin link, covering a distance of over 100 miles, will be the first digital troposcatter link that the Army has installed. With the Berlin link, FM stereo transmissions and reception will be provided to Berlin. Also, Helmstedt and Drachenberg (comm site west of Helmstedt) in the FRG will be able to receive AFN TV broadcasts.

(Source: Email from Steve Burgess, Bocksberg DCS, 1989-93)

I spent over three years on this site and closed it in the fall of 1993.  We maintained the digital communication link between DSC stations and a direct tropospheric scatter link between ourselves and Berlin on an MD-918 system.  

BBG was transferred to the Signal Support Company, HQ, Berlin Brigade. This transfer took place sometime in 1987/1988, prior to my arrival. During my stay, we were attached to Helmstedt (1989-1991), which fell under the command of the Berlin Brigade during the same period.

The opening of the east led to the closure of the site and the command of the site was transferred to the Helmstedt detachment and then on to the Berlin Brigade before final closure. 

The site was maintained with 4-5 personnel with an E-5 in charge. 

We inherited Pricilla, a lab mix, who we found an excellent home for before we departed.  I stayed in the city of Goslar for a couple of years after transfer of the site back to the German Government.

Bocksberg DCS Station


1. Bocksberg DCS Station, 1992 (286 KB)

2. Signal tower at Bocksberg, 1992 (235 KB)


6th Infantry Regiment
(Source: First Armored Division Association Bulletin, Nov-Dec 1954)
6th Inf Regt DI
The 12th Constabulary Squadron, previously inactivated on 20 Sept 1947, was redesignated as the 6th Infantry Regiment (- 2nd & 3rd Bns) on 10 Oct 1950 and concurrently relieved from assignment to the 1st Constabulary Regiment.

The 11th Constabulary Squadron, previously inactivated on 20 Sept 1947, was redesignated as the 11th Armd Inf Bn on 7 April 1949 and relieved from assignment the 1st Constabulary Regiment; the unit was further redesignated as 2nd Bn, 6th Inf Regt on 10 Oct 1950.

The 14th Constabulary Squadron was inactivated on 20 Dec 1948, concurrently redesignated as the 14th Armd Inf Bn and relieved from assignment to the 15th Constabulary Regiment; the unit was further redesignated as 3rd Bn, 6th Inf Regt on 10 Oct 1950.

The entire 6th Infantry Regiment was activated on activated 16 October 1950 in Germany for duty in Berlin.

6th Infantry Regiment
Pocket Patch


6th Inf Regt - 1949/50


1. 6th Inf Regt review (KB)

2. Changing of the Guard, Spandau Prison (KB)

3. Spandau Prison (KB)

4. Changing of the Guard, Spandau Prison (KB)

5. Russian Guard detachment, Spandau Prison (KB)

6th Inf Regt - 1951


1. 6th Inf Regt review, Sept 1951 (63 KB)

2. 6th Inf Regt review, Sept 1951 (63 KB)

3. 6th Inf Regt review, Sept 1951 (63 KB)

4. 6th Inf Regt review, Sept 1951 (KB)

5. Members of 6th Inf march through Berlin streets (84 KB)

6. Tank Park, 6th Inf Regt, Sept 1951 (64 KB)

7. Airmobility training, 1951 (KB)

8. Spandau Prison, 1951 (52 KB)

9. 6th Inf Regt radio operator, 1951 (42 KB)


Big Picture: Pictorial Report from Overseas (starts at 1:10 - YouTube)
In the early 1950s, the 6th Inf Regt was using Hiller H-23 heliopters to patrol the western sector of Berlin. The regiment's air section was stationed at Tempelhof Airfield.
(Source: Army Aviation Magazine, Dec 15, 1956)
Iron Curtain

By YC, (Capt.) Sylvester J. Hunter

BERLIN, GERMANY -- Thought the readers of ARMY AVIATION would be interested in knowing a little about what goes on in the only Army Aviation Section located 110 miles behind the Iron Curtain. For record-keeping purposes, we are the Section of the 6th Inf Regt, probably the only Regiment having 3 H-13 copters assigned to it, and rarer still, only two authorized pilots. I italicize the word, "probably," for I've seen what happens to those who make bold-faced statements in "AA" about being the only units to do this or that. They're engulfed the next month by those who take exception.

Our local flying area consists of the three west sectors of Berlin or approximately 185 square miles. We are limited to this area by our own Hqs but legally we could fly in a 20-mile radius of the center of Berlin. Needless to say, we do not mind the limitation.

As for missions and operations, they are quite normal in most respects but sometimes turn out to be very interesting and amusing. For example, we held a training problem with the Regt in the Grunewald Forest (which actually is a large park). It was rather difficult for anyone to maintain the proper concentration and enthusiasm for the problem when you have a huge nudist colony right smack in the middle of the attack zone.

Periodically, the question of an L-23 is brought up. Although we certainly can use an L-23 to maintain proper liaison with the various headquarters in West Germany, the question always hits a snag someplace. We have a real need for this craft and I hope that someday certain people in the Army will realize that we are no longer Cub pilots. With only choppers authorized, you may wonder how we meet our instrument minimums. We get most of our annual instrument flying with the AF in C-47s.

In addition to supporting the Regt, we also serve the Berlin Command and USCOB with Army aviation support. Assigned AAs are Lt. Clardie A. White (Maint, Supply, & you name it) and yours truly as Chief Honcho. Also logging time with us is Maj. Donn T. Boyd, asgd to the Regt with duty in MOS 1542 (Exec, 3rd Bn). Six chopper mechanics, a clerk, and a driver complete the Berlin crew.

I'd like to issue an invitation through "AA" to all Aviators who desire to and can manage to visit this divided city to come up and see us any time. We guarantee to roll out the carpet (not Red) and give you your choice of the $25 or $50 tour. For those arriving between May & October we have a Super-Duper $100 Tour which includes, among other things, the four points on our situation map labeled "NC." This is a new symbol I've learned since I taught the "Aviation Section Situation Map" in the AAS several years ago. Auf Wiedersehen from the only remaining WW II occupied area. (Ed. An explanation of the new map symbol can be found in the third paragraph.)

(Source: author's collection)

6th Inf Regt - 1954


1. Sign in front of Dispensary, 1954 (KB)

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"C" Battery, 94th Artillery
(Source: Email from Richard LaCour)
I don't remember if I ever responded to the request for some info about C Battery 94th Artillery. We'll start with the trip on the ship from New York to Bremerhaven Germany this was around early September 1963.

We got off the ship and we were put on trains for our assignments a few dozen of us were assigned to Munich we would be known as to D Battery 1st Bn 35th Artillery. The Kaserne was called Henry Kaserne and it was mostly the 24th Infantry Division. There were many tanks as well I think they were M-48s or M-60s I.m not sure about that. We wore the black red and green oak leaf patch.

We were told not to get too comfortable as we would not be staying very long. We lived out of our duffle bags and foot lockers. This was near the end of September 1963 it was starting to cool off some so fall was coming soon.We found out about a tradition in Germany that takes place every September -- its "October Fest" ( What a great place!) We were put on busses and taken to this monastery to see how beer was made and we were invited to taste test every thing which we did we had a great day.

Every morning we fall out and the first sergeant goes over the days activities and so on. So one morning we fall out as usual and first sergeant Robert Prosser turns the battery over to the Battery Commander Captain Ross E. Morrison. The BC reads a set of orders he has received which is ordering our battery to convoy to and occupy the city of Berlin. We would now be known as C Battery 94th Artillery, Berlin Brigade. This in my mind was the birth and creation of C Battery 94th Artillery.


"C" Battery mess hall, McNair Kaserne, Berlin (Richard LaCour)

We were assigned to McNair Barracks. Building 1024A and half of Building 1024B, the building was a large L shape. The other portion (of the L-shaped building) unused by C/94 was occupied by one of the 6th Infantry companies. C Battery had it's own mess hall located in the large basement area. The walls were painted with military related murals. It was very attractive. If Sgt Cook found out someone had a birthday he would bake a cake so with all the personal we had we ate a lot of cake. We got along just fine with the Ground Pounders as we called them. We often helped hide stuff for each other when inspections came around. We were near the rear gate area and the chapel was just a short walk from our back door.

When we arrived in October of 1963 we were issued six M-52, 105 MM self propelled howitzers. In no time at all we started training on the guns setting up the crews and such. I think our first FTX was in November. We took our guns into downtown Berlin and went to the Grunewald. We setup all six of the guns and we simulated fire missions. The brigade commander ( General Frederick O. Hartel ) decided to pay us a visit. ( I think because we were the new guys in town.) He told our BC Capt Ross E. Morrison that he wanted to see foxholes. Captain Morrison advised him the ground was so frozen that making the foxholes was impossible.The general was not buying that and demanded to see foxholes dug. The Captain ordered one of the guys to start a foxhole right behind one of the guns.The general saw the results and said you may simulate the foxholes, Captain Morrison. ( We all were laughing )

I hope you'll be able to use this information in some way.

Big Picture Report #10 - MP Patrols in Berlin (Movie - starts at 0:53 min) (NARA/archive.org)
287th Military Police Company
287th MP Company helmet
287th MP Co. is reconstituted for active army service [?] in Oct. 1953, as the 759th MP Bn. is deactivated. Together with the 272nd MP Company, the 287th assumes the law enforcement mission in occupied Berlin.

On Mar. 31, 1958, the Horse Platoon, previously assigned to the 287th MP Co., is deactivated in Berlin.

On Jun. 1, 1958, the 272nd MP Co. is deactivated leaving the 287th as the sole American Military Police unit in Berlin. Concurrently, the 287th MP Co is designated a "separate unit."

In Aug/Sept 1961, a small detachment of the 287th MP Co. is set up in Steinstuecken, a political enclave associated with West Berlin

In Oct. 1961, one platoon from the 385th MP Bn, stationed in the FRG, is attached to the 287th for duty at Checkpoint Charlie.

In Oct 1961, elements of the 287th MP Co. are deployed to the Friedrichstrasse crossing point during the Soviet - US sector border confrontation.
(Source: Horse Platoon patch and photos provided by Robert Wuhrman; Robert's father served with Horse Platoon in the mid-1950s)
Horse Platoon, 287th MP Co, SSI

Horse Platoon, 287th MP Co, DUI

Horse Platoon
287th MP Company
Photos provided by Robert Wuhrman; many more photos can be found on his website

1. Horse Platoon on review, 1955 (290 KB)

2. Main Gate, Horse Platoon Barracks, 1955 (68 KB)

3. Hay being loaded into stables (53 KB)

(Source: Army Information Digest, May 1954)
Patrol along the Iron Curtain with

All the Army's Horses

By Lt Frank W. Richnak
First Lieutenant Frank W. Richnak, Military Police Corps, is Commander of the Horse Platoon, 287th Military Police Company.
Fifty-seven horses located one hundred miles behind the Iron Curtain in Germany, and the thirty-seven American men on duty with them, constitute the last remaining horse unit in the United States Army, and probably the only mounted outfit of its type left within the United States Armed Forces.

The Berlin unit which includes all the Army's horses and some of its men, is the Horse Platoon of the 287th Military Police Company, an integral and colorful segment of the Military Police organization within the Army's Berlin Command.

Riding and caring for the last of the present-day Army cavalry are thirty-seven "spit and polish" soldiers. Under the operational control of the Berlin Command Provost Marshal, the unit has become a showpiece after nine years of service.

Although the Horse Platoon is in no sense an official Army cavalry unit, it serves to some extent as a present-day link with the tradition of the old US Cavalry and such legendary figures as Generals Custer, Stuart and Sheridan.

Activated originally in October 1945 from men and horses drawn from the 78th Cavalry Reconnaissance troop of the 78th Infantry (Lightning) Division, the unit was designed to serve as an honor guard, escort platoon, and as a ceremonial element at reviews and other military events. Horses and men arrived in Berlin for duty in January 1946 and in May of the same year the unit was integrated with the 16th Constabulary Squadron. When the Constabulary passed from the Army occupation scene late in 1950, the Horse Platoon wan transferred to the 759th Military Police Battalion and with the deactivation of that organization the riders and mounts became part of the 287th Military Police Company.

Horse Platoon, May 1956
  Today the sleek horses and their accomplished riders are a familiar and popular sight at ceremonies held at Berlin Command Headquarters, at Tempelhof Air Base or at other Army sites in West Berlin. At the Foreign Ministers' Conference early this year the platoon was personally commended by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles following a review for the three Western Foreign Ministers.

The platoon's principal emergency mission has always centered around its capabilities for dispersing mobs and, in general, for controlling all types of crowds or rioting elements. Occasions requiring this type of action have, happily, been infrequent but that fact has not lessened the rigid regime for both men and animals.
An aggressive mounted training program is followed in addition to normal training with dismounted troops. Included in the mounted training are bareback riding, jumping over small obstacles and the use of special weapons such as tear gas grenades and 29-inch riot sticks together with carbines and pistols. The horses are put through their training amid the various types of noise that might be encountered during a riot. Considerable attention is devoted to reconnaissance patrol training in the Gruenewald Forest, a wooded area near the border that separates the American Sector of Berlin from the Soviet-occupied Zone of Germany.

A special sideline activity of the Berlin Horse Platoon is its appearance and competition in Allied military horse shows. The platoon's former First Sergeant and instructor, Thomas Lee of Shreveport, Louisiana, won more than one hundred prizes competing against the cream of French and British riders and their mounts in recent years.

All the men in the unit are volunteers, and were assigned originally to Military Police units in the US Army, European Command (USAREUR.) Most of them had civilian experience as professional horsemen, ranch hands or exercise boys. The platoon is quartered separately from its parent company and operates its own mess at billets near the stables in the southern edge of the American Sector. In the same area are the stables of the American Riding Association of Berlin whose members engage in recreational riding and inter-Allied horse shows. A large indoor arena is available for inclement weather use by both the Association and the Horse Platoon.

A typical day with the platoon includes lessons in the care and grooming of horses, jumping practice, parade techniques, formations and exercising. Athletics such as baseball and wrestling matches -- with the men mounted on horses -- are organized frequently. Such contests are considered excellent training for men and animals alike.

A popular training exercise is the equitation drill. In this activity a trooper puts his horse through a series of figure eights and similar maneuvers while the other men watch and judge each performance. Horses and men also must learn and continually practice drill quite similar to the dismounted type given to foot soldiers.

The average age of the horses is ten years, and all recent additions have been selected from choice German stock. Only two of the animals are of American origin; they arrived in Europe with the 1948 United States Olympic equestrian team.

The Horse Platoon has become such an established Army institution in old Berlin that many Berliners and Americans maintain the famous city will never be the same should the smart Military Police troopers ever lose their horses to some less romantic mode of transportation.

298th Army Band
298th Army Band DUI
298th Army Band Blazer Pocket Patch

298th Army Band bldg, 1969
  Photo on left shows Pvt Larry Brown, trumpeter, 298th Army Band, 1969.

Photo was taken by band drummer & percussionist Bob Howell who married a German girl, Angie, from Berlin and still works as a full-time musician in Berlin's Theaters, Clubs & Studios to this day.

The 298th Army Band's Blazer Pocket Patch (shown above) came sewn-on to the upper pockets of our blazers (semi-formal dress coat). The dark-blue blazer was worn with grey pants -- as I remember, but I'll dig-out a photo later.

This was the band's "Ensemble Wear" and was used in appearances of both the Jazz Ensemble and the American half of our German-American Vocal Ensemble (I was also in that group) at Officer's Clubs, NCO's Clubs, and the German-American Volksfest!

6941st Guard Battalion
(Source: BERLIN OBSERVER, Aug 31, 1990)
6941st Guard Bn. celebrates 40th anniversary today

By Eve Krüger

The 6941st Guard Battalion will celebrate its 40th anniversary today.

The battalion, headquartered at Roosevelt Barracks, has been providing physical security for U.S. installations in Berlin since it was formed Aug. 28, 1950.

Guard recruitment began Sept. 5 that year, and job applicants had to be male, at least 20 years old and single. Battalion members were required to live in the barracks and wear uniforms.

The battalion's S4 officer, Maj.Hein Becker, was one of the first hired, beginning as a private first class Sept. 15, 1950.

He said, "For most people hired in the 1950s, it was an interim solution to the idea of going back to a civilian job.

"I, however, liked the idea of being in a military-type unit and to work with young people."

Each Saturday, battalion members had a full field layout inspection, Becker remembered.

Later, promotions and salary also played an important role for staying with the guards, he added.

Because of structural changes and personnel strength, the battalion's original name, Labor Service Area, changed to Labor Service Center, and during 1969 was redesignated as the 6941st Guard Bn.

"The 6941st is organized like a light infantry battalion," Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Klaus Bartels said.

It consists of a headquarters company, and four guard companies: 4012th, 4014th, 4077th, and 4078th.

"Over the years, the battalion became more independent. Most parts of our jobs can be considered routine, but [there] is also a stability factor," Bartels said.

Highlights in the battalion's history include emergency assignments when the Berlin Wall was built and providing security when former President John Kennedy visited Berlin.

During the early 1980s, the battalion dealt with radicals' activities against military installations.

The battalion also provides lodging for units visiting Berlin.

Recently, the battalion assisted the command with resettler operations and began hiring women to fill its ranks.

7773 Signal Service Company
(Source: Email from Ed Gibson, 7773 Sig Co, 1951-1953)
When I arrived in Germany in late 1951, I went to the replacement depot at Sonthofen, where I was told I was going to radio operators school at the Ansbach Signal School. Following that, I was assigned to the 7773 Signal Co in Berlin. It's name was changed later but I can't remember the new one.

SCR-399 on Duty Train
  As you know there were two trains departing Berlin each evening, one for Frankfurt and the other for Bremerhaven. At the same time, trains were departing those stations for Berlin. Each train leaving Berlin had a radio car at the rear. The radio equipment was taken from the AN/SCR-399 which was a vehicle-mounted radio hut on a 6X truck towing a trailer with a jeep motor powered generator. The transmitter was the BC-610 with 300 watts output. All communication was by Morse code. A Motorola VHF radiotelephone was later installed, but with very limited range, hardly out as far as Wansee.

PHOTO: Here is a photo of the radio equipment as used in the Berlin Duty Train radio cars. Receivers and control panel on the left and the BC-610 transmitter with antenna tuning unit in the background.
After crossing the Russian zone, the radio cars were dropped off at Helmstedt, and made the return trip on the Eastbound trains. There were 6 operators on duty, two on each train, one at Helmstedt, and one at the Clay HQ compound in Berlin. Three operators were stationed at Helmstedt on a rotating basis. I spent 9 months there in 1953. There were only about 20 Americans stationed in Helmstedt, mostly MPs manning the checkpoint out on the Autobahn. We were living in the biggest mansion in town.

In addition to train duty, the 7773 also drove an SCR-399 in the weekly convoy which went from Berlin to Braunschweig and returned the following day.

I still remember the call signs:
Berlin - ME6
Helmstedt - 0YP (that's a "zero")
the Frankfurt train - QY7F
the Bremerhaven train - QY7B.

The operating frequency was 5295 kHz. If you are familiar with the Morse code, imagine sending a name like Niederdodeleben with a Morse key from a swaying railway car. Great fun. But that was 50 years ago. Hope this fills you in a bit.

The 7773 was involved in many other aspects of communications around Berlin, but I am not familiar with the details. I do know that radio-equipped vehicles were always on standby for use by high-ranking command officers during alerts.
Ed Gibson

Duty trains
  The Berlin Duty Train

In late 1945, the Transportation Corps established the Berlin Duty Train as a method of transporting soldiers, their dependents, and U.S. Army civilians in and out of the Allied sectors of Berlin and West Germany.

Each train was assigned a train commander, a Russian-English interpreter, two Military Police, a radio operator and a conductor. The Train Commander was almost always a Transportation Corps Lieutenant, who was responsible for the safety and security of the train during its journey. The radio operator maintained constant contact with Brigade Headquarters while traveling through the Soviet zone. The Transportation Non-Commissioned Officer acted as the conductor.

For more on the duty train, see the Berlin Duty Train Page at the US Army Transportation Museum web site (http://www.eustis.army.mil/DPTMSEC/MUSEUM/index.htm).


Berlin District

Berlin Brigade

Berlin Sp Trps

Honor Guard


6th Inf Honor Guard Patch

6th Inf Drill Team Patch

6th Inf Field Music Patch

2nd BG, 6th Inf Patch

3rd BG, 6th Inf Patch

(Source: Email from Aydin Mehmet, Germany)

Berlin Avn Det
Tempelhof Airport
Photos provided by Aydin Mehmet, Germany

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Related Links:
Berlin - 1969 - a well researched and very interesting website hosted by Robert W. Rynerson who serve as a Russian-English Interpreter in the Rail Transportation Office in Berlin. Great "duty train" stories and information.
USMLM Association
Dead Link - The United States Military Liaison Mission (USMLM), 1947-1990, has been called the most successful and productive intelligence collection organization of the Cold War era. USMLM and its members performed a dual mission: liaison between the US and Soviet military forces in a divided Germany and intelligence monitoring of Soviet forces in East Germany.
Berlin Brigade
Website dedicated to the veterans of the Berlin Brigade.
Turner Tankers
Website features all armored units stationed at Turner Barracks in Berlin from 1951 to early 1990s.
6941st Guard Battalion Very well done website dedicated to the former members of the Labor Service unit in Berlin

Berlin US Military Veterans Association A veterans association established for the benefit of all Berlin US Military Veterans and Active Duty Members who served in Berlin from 1945 to 1994.
Berlin Wall Watchers A great Yahoo Group site open to all but with focus on veterans of the Berlin Brigade, Berlin. You have to become a member of the group to get access to all features - it's worth it.

McNair Museum Approximately 250,000 Berliners worked for the Allies in various areas of administration, maintenance, supply, housing, security etc. during the period from 1945 to 1994. This website is dedicated to keeping the memory of their contributions alive.
The Pompadours -
The 3rd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment in Berlin, 1964-66. An interesting site that presents images of the occupation of Berlin from the view of our British Allies.
Les Forces Franšaises Ó Berlin - a great site featuring the French Forces in Berlin, 1945-1994. (In French and German)
B e r l i n - B r i g a d e - M e m o r i e s - Rainer von Bronewski's dedication to the Americans who served with the Berlin Brigade. Rainer also wrote a book, "Growing up with American GIs", about his positive memories of past times spent with the Americans in Berlin. Despite what the politicians and the media might suggest, we still have a lot of friends over there!
E Battery, 320th Field Artillery - the unofficial web site for all Berlin Redlegs